For small and medium-sized businesses, cyber attacks have become increasingly common. As of 2021, 86% of organizations were compromised by successful cyber attacks, an increase of 24% over the previous seven years, according to a 2021 report from CyberEdge Group. Business owners and executives know they must take precautions to protect themselves, but they frequently underestimate the danger.
Another common misconception is that hiring full-time cyber security specialists is too expensive, even though doing so can save time, save money and provide peace of mind. Full-time cyber security personnel understand the magnitude of a security breach. These professionals grasp the cyber security benefits involved and can help a company, no matter what size it is, stop problems before they start. Their expertise can save money and even keep the business from going under after a crisis.
Earning an advanced degree in cyber security can help individuals become in-demand professionals in the current security climate.
The Impact of Cyber Security
Though many headlines focus on hacking incidents and data breaches at high-profile companies, the reality is that most cyber attacks target small and medium-sized businesses. An employee of a small business with fewer than 100 workers will experience social engineering attacks like phishing or Trojan emails 350% more frequently on average than an employee of a larger company, according to findings from Barracuda.
While many people believe that smaller businesses without the deep financial pockets of larger corporations are generally overlooked by cyber attackers, that couldn’t be further from the truth. As of 2019, the cost of the disruption from a cyber attack on small and medium-sized businesses averaged around $1.9 million dollars, with only 26% of victims having reduced the time it takes to recover from an attack over the prior year, according to findings from the Ponemon Institute.
Without a plan to defend against attacks or a strategy for recovery, many small and medium-sized businesses, or SMBs, aren’t able to survive even one breach of security. While larger corporations often have resources and security investments in place, SMBs are just as likely to be targeted but have fewer security measures and limited resources to recover from a potential attack, highlighting the importance of cyber security for all businesses.
Advantages of Cyber Security in Business
Hiring full-time cyber security professionals is an effective way for companies to protect themselves against cyber attacks and preserve the security of the business. Seventy-seven percent of SMBs don’t have professionals dedicated to mitigating cyber security risks, vulnerabilities and attacks, which is the most common obstacle to effective cyber security. This is followed by 45% of SMBs lacking the skills and knowledge required to safeguard against cyberattacks at all, according to the Ponemon Institute report.
Those numbers illustrate that one of the easiest ways for SMBs to take proactive steps in preventing cyber attacks is to bring in a full-time cyber security specialist. Professionals with cyber security expertise can prove invaluable to a vulnerable business, saving countless hours of headaches and a considerable amount in potential losses. In-house experts become part of the company team, according to American Express. Advantages include:
- Face-to-face conversations and other engagement between employees can stimulate progress and ideas.
- Employees with a good salary and room for growth may feel more vested in the company and be less likely to leave.
- Intellectual property may be more likely to stay confidential. Companies can also require noncompete contracts, which can keep employees from taking ideas with them if they leave.
Careers in cyber security can be rewarding for those willing to invest time into mastering the role: Information security specialists had a median annual salary of approximately $76,000 in July 2022, according to Payscale. Whether in-house or on contract, a company’s cyber security experts should be able to handle the most basic and crucial responsibilities, including:
- Automating security checks, providing encryption services, managing firewalls, creating incident response plans and performing risk assessments
- Staying up to date on state and federal cyber security regulations
- Being the go-to source on digital security measures, such as the need for increasingly stronger passwords, and keeping a company’s employees informed about how to spot suspicious communications
- Monitoring the latest threats and shutting them down before they cause damage to the business
- Protecting the business so that would-be attackers move on to easier targets.
Help Protect Businesses with a Career in Cyber Security
With the increase in cyber attacks and the effects of those attacks becoming more costly, it’s easy to see why cyber security is important for business, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. With the help of the online Master of Science in Cyber Security offered by the University of North Dakota, professionals can develop the analytical abilities to position themselves for front-line positions in the fight against cyber crime.
Coursework is done online, which allows busy professionals to study cyber security and earn their degree without disrupting their work or personal lives. Gain the tools you’ll need to keep businesses safe from potential cyber threats with the University of North Dakota.
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American Express, “The Pros and Cons of Hiring In-House vs. Outsourcing”
Barracuda, “Spear Phishing: Top Threats and Trends”
Cisco, “Small Businesses Are Facing Big Cybersecurity Challenges in 2021”
CyberEdge Group, “2021 Cyberthreat Defense Report”
Ponemon Institute, “2019 Global State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses”